• Alchemia Ltd., of Brisbane, Australia, said it plans to merge with Meditech Research Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, by way of an off-market takeover bid. The merger proposal has the unanimous support of the Meditech board. Alchemia is offering one share for every nine Meditech shares, valuing Meditech at $16.9 million. Meditech has a product in Phase II trials in metastatic colorectal cancer patients and two anticancer products that have completed Phase I trials.

• Avant Immunotherapeutics Inc., of Needham, Mass., received a $4 million milestone payment from London-based GlaxoSmithKline plc, marking the approval of Rotarix, a vaccine to prevent gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus, in the European Union. Under the collaboration terms, Avant expects a $40 million payment from GSK when the product launches in Europe. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 28, 2006.)

• Cardium Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, acquired InnerCool Therapies Inc., also of San Diego, in exchange for 2.5 million shares of Cardium common stock. InnerCool investors also would be entitled to a one-time product success payment of $5 million upon calendar-year revenues from the commercial sale of InnerCool products exceeding $20 million. InnerCool is a medical technology company that develops endovascular, catheter-based systems in the field of therapeutic hypothermia.

• Centocor Inc., of Horsham, Pa., and Schering-Plough Corp., of Kenilworth, N.J., said the European Commission granted approval of Remicade (infliximab) for the treatment of moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis in patients who have had an inadequate response to, or medical contraindications for, conventional therapy, including corticosteroids and 6-MP or AZA. That marks the eighth indication Remicade has received in the European Union for the treatment of immune-mediated inflammatory disorders.

• Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, and allied contract manufacturer DSM Biologics said they signed a PER.C6 research license agreement with UMN Pharma, of Akita, Japan. The agreement allows UMN to use the cell line in its UMN-03 project, which aims to employ a fusion protein in the treatment of muscular dystrophy and metabolic diseases, such as obesity and Type II diabetes mellitus. UMN will pay a signing fee and annual maintenance fees, though specific financial terms were not disclosed.

• Duska Therapeutics Inc., of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., is raising $2 million in a common stock offering in connection with its previously announced private placement of 8 million shares at 25 cents per share, for a total of $4 million in gross proceeds to the company. Duska focuses on the development of diagnostic and therapeutic products based on adenosine 5’triphosphate and P2 receptors-related technologies.

• Iomai Corp., of Gaithersburg, Md., received a $1.4 million award from the National Institutes of Health for the continued development of its immunostimulant needle-free patch to extend the availability of existing stocks of influenza vaccine in case of a pandemic. The award is the second installation of a two-year, $2.9 million grant first announced in January 2005 under the U.S. government’s biodefense initiatives.

• Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said it will receive a $10 million payment from Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development LLC, a unit of New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson, based on sales milestones reached for Velcade (bortezomib) for injection in territories outside the U.S. Millennium entered the potential $500 million deal with J&JPRD and Ortho Biotech Products LP in June 2003 for commercialization and continued development of Velcade, a treatment approved for multiple myeloma patients who have received at least one prior therapy. (See BioWorld Today, July 2, 2003.)

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